August 12

10 Quotes about Writing from YA Authors


Young Adult Writers Speak Out

Whether you’re a writer or a reader, you’ll love these quotes from writers of your favorite genre, young adult. From John Green to Suzanne Collins and Sarah J. Maas, all of your beloved authors chime in, with a bonus quote from me, too!

John Green on Creating Characters

“When I think about characters, I like to think of them in their relationships to each other. In the same way, I think that’s how humans are ultimately defined. We are our relationships to one another. And a lot of what’s interesting about us happens in the context of other people.”

Suzanne Collins on Writing about War

“One of the reasons it’s important for me to write about war is I really think that the concept of war, the specifics of war, the nature of war, the ethical ambiguities of war, are introduced too late to children. I think they can hear them, understand them, know about them, at a much younger age without being scared to death by the stories.”

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Sarah J. Maas on Writing to Music

“I have to have music on when writing, or else the silence swallows me whole.”

Stephanie Perkins on Getting an Agent and Getting Published

“To aspiring authors, I recommend research. Follow tons of agents and editors on Twitter, and then listen to what they have to say. If you have a question for them, be polite and courteous. Read the acknowledgments in books that are similar to yours and see who the author thanks—their agent and editor are probably in there!

But the most important thing will always be the manuscript itself. Revise it. Revise it again. Again. Again. Again. AGAIN. All three of my novels have had more than 20 drafts. Don’t settle. Don’t sell yourself short. Make it great.”

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Sabaa Tahir on the Five Books That Made Her Want to Become a Writer

There are five main books that made me want to become a writer. In no particular order, they are:”

  1. The Random House Book of Fairy Tales

  2. The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks

  3. Seven Daughters and Seven Sons by Barbara Cohen and Bahija Lovejoy.

  4. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

  5. The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

Veronica Roth on the Writing Process

“I usually write for really long stretches of time until I run out of steam, and then I’m back to chewing again. I try to keep my “process” flexible and changing with my needs—whatever keeps me writing is what I’ll do until it doesn’t work anymore, and then I find something else, whether it’s outlining or not outlining or listening to music or writing longhand or going back to reread or never going back at all until I’m done.”

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Scott Westerfeld on Writing Rituals

“The best ritual is ritual. I write in the same chair, at the same time each day, after the same amount of coffee. This tells my body and brain that it is Writing Time and that there is no escape. You have to find your own rituals, of course, but in a way the specifics don’t matter, as long as you’re creating writing triggers and not procrastination triggers.

Whether you establish a pattern with setting, music, timing, or a magic incantation, let habit be your ally.”

Rainbow Rowell on Becoming an Author

“I didn’t really write fiction—or anything for myself—until my late twenties, early thirties.

I think I was scared to try. It felt so much safer to write for an editor or a client, to not put myself out there. I kept my first novel, Attachments, a secret for a long time because I just didn’t know whether I could pull it off, and I didn’t want my friends to know if I failed.

The last five years of my writing journey have been all about taking risks. There’s nothing safe about writing a novel; it’s just too personal and too big. You have to put yourself out there.”

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Matthew Quick on Finding the Right Voice

“…the voices just sort of come to me. I hear them in my head and I record on the page. Sometimes Alicia, my wife and first reader, tones the voices down a little for me, but I always write in first person because, well, there are so many voices in my head. I’m not sure you can teach someone to be a voice-driven writer. I wouldn’t know how.”

And finally…

Norma Hinkens (aka me) on Advice to Aspiring Authors

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If you are certain writing is where your passion and strengths intersect, don’t take your eyes off the goal. Put your shoulder to the wheel and throw your whole heart into mastering the craft, and taking incremental steps toward publication. Dogged persistence will get you there in the end, and the talent you have honed along the way will be your staying power.

What’s your favorite quote on writing?


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